Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Time!

     Hello Everyone,

     Merry Christmas too all!! 
     This past week was great! I hope everyone had a safe and sound Christmas! On Thursday we had a Zone Christmas Party!! Yay!! It was a lot of fun! We played some games, and ate a lot of food. And I mean a LOT of food haha!! 
 
 

 
 
     Then we came back to Ucum and ate dinner with the Gonzales Family. It was great, but I couldn't eat as much as I wanted because I was already FULL! 
     Then, on Christmas morning, we opened our presents!! YAY!! I got lots of wonderful things! Thank you so much family for sending me some good stuff. And my companion loves the Canada T-shirt! 
 
     I also got to talk to my family! And my brother that is in Salt Lake City and is a missionary too! How exciting!! It was wonderful to see everyone and all the smiling faces! Now, theres only one more time left to talk to them, Mother's Day. Wow, time sure flies by!! 
      Oh, and guess what? Yesterday when my companion and I were walking, we saw a monkey!! Yes, a real live monkey! It was climbing up and down a tree and it had a leash around it's neck. So I guess it was somebody's pet! 
     Well, thats all for this week! I won't be writing again until next year...sorry about that. You'll all have to wait until then! Haha! 

   Love,

         Elder Strate

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Skype

Got to Skype with the family. My release date is July 18.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas

           Hello Everyone!

            This week has been full of Christmas cheer! And with some more yet to come!
            This Friday we had our Branch Christmas party, and it was great!! 
     


       Lots of less actives and investigators came, yay! My companion and I showed some Christmas videos too and we talked about the true meaning of Christmas. It was wonderful. We really could feel the spirit of Christmas and how it can change our lives. 
      Also, about 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started yesterday, the branch president asked my companion and I to give talks!! Talk about last minute! The other speakers didn't show up so thats why he asked us. Well, good thing that missionaries are always "prepared"...haha. He didn't give us a specific topic, but he told us to talk about what we felt that the branch needed. So my companion Elder Dominguez talked about Charity(and did a wonderful job). And I talked about the Atonement. It all went great. 
      Then, we also had another devotional last night in Chetumal. Were we sang, and bore tesimony and many wonderful things! And after the devotional we went Christmas caroling! It was great. I loved seeing the looks on the peoples faces as we sang to them. The spirit was felt indeed! 
       I think we might spend Christmas Eve with our branch president and his family. For Christmas here, its a crazy party!! Pinatas, candy, lots of food. Its great! 
      Well, I look forward to seeing my family this week. I hope everyone has a safe Christmas week! And don't forget the true meaning of Christmas!! CHRIST!! 

       Lots of love,
           Elder Strate 
    Got this package - Thanks mom and dad!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Play

     Hello Everyone

     We had transfers!! But me and my companion are staying here together for at least one more transfer. Yay! And some great things happened this week! 
     On Friday night we had our Stake Christmas activity! It was wonderful. All of the wards and branches prepared numbers to perform. Including the missionaries too! We did our own little play. We acted out the story of Christs birth and what happened here in the Americas. So, I was Nephi. 
 


      Which was awesome! IT was a lot of fun. There was also Samuel the Lamanite who preached of the birth of Christ. Overall it was great and we all felt the spirit and learned more about the BOM and Christmas! 
                       





     Yesterday, something very special occurred too. We were able to attend the broadcast of the Dedication of the Temple in Tijuana, Mexico. So we went to the Stake Center in Chetumal to watch the broadcast. It was so amazing! Fact: The Tijuana Mexico Temple is he first Temple in Mexico to be built with Mexican style and materials! All of the wood, brick, etc came from Mexico! And the style of the structure and the building is Mexican style too. Even the furniture inside! 
               
      The Lord has a lot of confidence in the country of Mexico. I am so happy that I was called to serve here! It truly is the Promised Land. VIVA MEXICO!! Also President Utchdorf dedicated the temple and he gave a great talk too. Oh by the way, about 7 years ago more or less I shook his hand 😄 I love listening to General Authorities!!
      So thats what happened this week. Also this Friday we are having a Branch Christmas party! Yay!! If you haven't realized it yet, we kinda party a lot. Its really what us Mexicans do ya know! Haha! 
       Have a great week and a safe Christmas season everyone! Until next week!

                 Love,
                        Elder Strate

Monday, 7 December 2015

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Hello Everyone,

     First off, I would like to wish a happy birthday to two very special people. My Mother Kristine Strate and my Father Ron Strate. Who just recently had their birthdays separated by only one day!! Thats right, one day!! Dec 5 and Dec 6th! Wow, not many people can say that their parents are only a day's age apart, but I can!! I just was to say that I have an eternal gratitude for the both of them. There are so many wonderful things I could say about them that would be an endless list! So I will just say this, without them in my life I wouldn't be here right now. All the love, patience, kindness, and more than anything, righteousness! Thanks Mom and Dad for Everything!! Love you both forever and EVER! 
     So, this week we had a Christmas devotional hosted by the missionaries of the Zone Chetumal. It was great! We had originally planned another activity but something happened and we had to change last minute. So, instead of doing a play, we sang and did some other things. However, it was still a very special night! I felt the spirit so strong as we sang Christmas hymns and testified of Christ. It was wonderful! And this Friday we are having a Stake Christmas activity. So we are going to perform then instead. Which is alright with me, more practice makes perfects! Especially being Nephi, one of the leading roles! I'm so excited!! 
                                            Practicing for the play
    
 
     Oh, and I hope that you all have watched the Christmas videos of "A Savior is Born". Please watch them and share them on FB, twitter and everything!! I love Christmas time! Such a wonderful spirit can be felt all around the world! 
     Oh, and the baptism we had this week got postponed. Our investigator Ephriam still doesn't feel quite ready, so we are hoping for the 26th of December. Boxing Day! Well thats all for this week.      
     Thanks everyone and have a wonderful week full of Christmas miracles!!

         Love,
             Elder Strate
 
                     Our Christmas Tree 



                    With me as an ornament! But they put my face crooked...lol







Thursday, 3 December 2015

Humble

Received two photos of Dawson this morning. What a great way to start the morning! I think we take for granted a lot in our country (and the USA). He's sitting on a 5 gallon bucket to teach.
Love this kid.
Bottom two pictures are getting ready for the play on Friday. Dawson is Nephi.




Monday, 30 November 2015

Close to Belize

     Hello Everyone,

     This week was great!! We had a baptism on Saturday woooh!!! Damaris got baptized and it was wonderful. The spirit was felt so strongly during the baptismal service!! 


 
      Also, another special event happened yesterday!! The Presentation of the Primary!! And guess what? I played the piano for the songs that the children sang. 
 
     We have been practicing the past few weeks and it turned out great. There were lots of people crying in sacrament meeting because the spirit was so strongly felt. I am so grateful that I could contribute too!! The members were so happy afterward and they told me that I did a good job. They said the piano sounded like the music track of the church songs haha! That made me feel good!
     And if all goes well, this Saturday we will have another baptism!! Yay!!
     So, as of yesterday a very special video has come on the internet. Its called "Ha Nacido un Salvador". Its a great video about Christmas! It talks about the importance of a Savior in our lives!! I invite everyone to visit it!! Share it on FB, twitter, everything!! The whole world needs to know about it!! navidad.mormon.org or christmas.mormon.org . Check it out!! I love this time of year! The spirit of Christmas has arrived!! Well, thats whats going on this week. Thanks everyone!! Enjoy this wonderful week!!

   Love,
     Elder Strate 


                 Behind us is the Country of Belize!! We are super close to the border!!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Pictures!!!

                 A church member sent these home for Dawson-
    "Your son playing the piano for the primary getting ready for Sunday " is the first one.



        Then he sent some pics of the missionaries preparing for next weeks play in Bacala. I was told Dawson is being Nephi. Thanks Brother Tom Albaugh for the photos.



Monday, 23 November 2015

Vist from GA

      Hello Everyone!!

     This past week has been great!! We've started progressing with our investigators!! And this week we have a baptism!! Woohoo!! Its been a little while... but thats okay! If all goes well, I will be sending pictures of it next Monday. And we have some others lined up for next week too!! Miracles in the Lord's vineyard!!
     Congratulations too all Canadians who were able to participate in the dedication of the Montreal Temple! I'm sure it was a wonderful opportunity! "I love to see the temple!" Canadian Pride!! 
      So yesterday and Saturday we had our Stake Conference here in Chetumal. It was absolutely wonderful!! We were able to attend the 3 sessions. The Saturday night priestood session, and the general session after that. And then the Sunday morning session. Elder Alfredo Mirón, of the Area Seventy came to visit us. It was so awesome!! 
      In the priesthood session he talked about how we need to understand better our priesthood duties. And shared some great scriptures too!! 1 Peter 2:9-11 I love this one!!
      Then in the next session he talked about ward council meetings and how we all need to work together to be able to work effectively. And not just making the Bishop do everything. Which is how it should be! 
      Then in the Sunday morning session he talked about many things. Tithing, fast offerings, temple assistance, marriage! It was a little bit of everything!! I love being in the presence of General Authorities. Especially Elder Mirón, he has a great sense of humor! It was definetely not a boring meeting! 
       Towards the end of the session, I started to get a migraine...ugh. It was a bad one too. So I just took my pills and went to sleep, after throwing up three times!! Needless to say, yesterday was full of spiritual events, and some not so much... 
      Well, thats what I got for this week. Thanks everyone for reading this. I hope that we can all have joy as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Especially remembering him in this upcoming Christmas season!! Have a wonderful week!
     Love,
        Elder Strate
 

Monday, 16 November 2015

New Comp

     Hello Everyone!!

     What a wonderful week this has been!!
      I now have a new companion, his name is Elder Dominguez. He is from the Mexican state of Vera Cruz! A city called Jalapa (halapa). He is so awesome! He has been out in the field a little bit longer than I have. We are working great together!! I am learning lots of great things from him. 
 
     Speaking of working...we now have 6 baptismal dates for this transfer! Wonderful!! I love being a missionary. I love seeing how the gospel changes people's lives. How people can leave behind all the bad things and start over again! 
     This past Saturday, we had a zone conference in Chetumal with President and Sister Kirkham. It was wonderful! I learned so many great things on how to be a better missionary. We focused on how to become better gospel teachers. Like, explaining the doctrine clearer, and being able to relate principles of the gospel. For example, first explaining how God is our loving heavenly father, and then being able to relate it to the law of tithing. Things like that so we can become more interesting teachers!! It was great! 
      I know that Jesus Christ lives!! I know that miracles still exist!! I am a witness of many miracles that have happened in the life of my family!! And with others too! I know God lives and loves all of his children. And that he wants us ALL to return to his presence. Have a wonderful week!

        Love,
             Elder Strate
 
We love food! Pizza and hot dogs!
 

 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Delayed in emailing

      Hello Everyone,

     I didn't get a chance to write on Monday, so I'm writing today!!
     So there was transfers!! But I am staying here in Ucum. My companion Elder Jayer got transferred to Cancun. So Monday morning we left for Cancun. It takes about 6 hours to get there, so that kind of ate up our whole day. My new companion is Now Elder Dominguez. He was waiting for me in Cancun, but we had to stay there because I needed to go to immigration on Wednesday morning. However, I didn't bring any clothes to stay overnight so we had to return back to Chetumal on Monday. Another 6 hour bus ride...ugh. So Monday we traveled 12 hours total. Then on Tuesday we left again for Cancun, stayed the night with some of the Secretaries, then came back yesterday after I had fingerprinted some documents in immigration. So, in three days, I traveled a total of 24 hours by bus...yay..? So thats why today I am barely having my P-Day. But everythings good! 
       We have also found some new investigators lately and they are amazing!! Definitely chosen by the Lord to make covenants with him! One is Ephraim and his brother names Lazarus!! Hopefully I will be able to say that I baptized Lazarus haha! And we are currently working with some other investigators too. The work is moving forward!! 
     Well, thats about all for this week. Thanks everyone for the love and prayers. I hope you all have a wonderful week! The Lord loves every one of his children and wants them ALL to return to him!! So lets do it!! "Keep the commandments, keep the commandments! In this there is safety in this, there is peace." 

                                                            Chetumal Zone pic

                        Love,

                            Elder Strate

Monday, 2 November 2015

TREK Skills used

Hello Everyone,

     This past week has been interesting. 
     We started off the week with a service project. And I might say, not your common service project!! When we visited a less active family, the Mom told us that she wanted to sell some of her chickens. Here, lots of people have live chickens and other animals in their properties that they sell from their homes. So anyways, she wanted to sell some of here chickens, but she didn't want to kill them because she gets kinda grossed out and scared. So we offered to help! Thats right, we killed three chickens on Tuesday morning!! Thanks to brother Boyes for teaching us how to kill chickens on "Trek 2014", I was able to do it! I also taught my companion too. 
 
     Then, we also did another service project on Saturday. We helped a family of recent converts to take down/destroy the roof of their "palapa". Palapas are the houses here that they make out of sticks, metal sheets, or palm tree leaves, whatever they can find! Like the one in the background of the picture below. So we had a week full of service! Which is awesome!! "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ya are only in the service of your God". 
      Also, Halloween here isn't celebrated much. I only saw one trick or treater on halloween night. I guess its not really a tradition here. What they do celebrate here is "dia de los muertos", or "day of the dead". Where they celebrate and pay their respects to the deceased. They also go to the cemetaries with their families and have like a party. With lots of food, cake, and alchohol haha. Its a little weird if you ask me but oh well. I think its more of a catholic thing. And there are lots of people here that are catholic, so it makes sense. 
      Also, today we went to Chetumal to buy some things. I bought some new ties! Yay! I've never been so excited about having ties before until I became a missionary haha! And...we couldn't take a bus to get back because there is a strike going on right now in the middle of the highway that was blocking the traffic from going both ways...so guess what? Thats right, we started walking. And the distance is about the same between Magrath and Lethbridge, 34km. Imagine walking that distance in the hot sun...with heavy grocery bags in both hands! So thats what we did today...fun 😧 
      Well, next week we have transfers too. Wow, this transfer went by super fast!! Who knows where I will be next week. Thanks for all the love and support! Keep moving forward with faith, "to tell the world of Jesus Christ our Lord!". 

     Love,

          Elder Strate    

Monday, 26 October 2015

     Hello Everyone,

     This past week has been great. The rain is now gone, and the sun is shining again!! And its still pretty hot too! I have actually gotten used to the sun here. I never thought that would happen considering that its so hot. But thanks to sunscreen and drinking lots of water, I have adapted to the climate here quite well.    
     So... we have found some more investigators. We also have some baptismal dates coming up soon, fingers crossed!! The work here is definetely progressing. I would say the hardest part would be finding people to teach. But we are working on that!     
     One of the things that I have learned as a missionary is that the influence of the Holy Ghost is so real!! Us as missionaries, are only tools in the Lords hands to work his miracles. If we don't teach with the Holy Ghost, then these people won't be able to feel it. When someone recieves a spiritual confirmation from the Holy Ghost that something is true, there isn't anything, or anyone that can deny that. I have felt that many times here in my mission. I will never apart from what I know to be true. "I will not, I cannot!"- "How firm a foundation" from the Hymn Book. 
     Thanks for all the love and support. Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Elder Strate

Monday, 19 October 2015

Rain, rain and more rain

     Hello everyone,

     This past week has been full of RAIN. And I mean a lot of rain! Four days straight it was raining hard here. So, needless to say my companion and I have done a lot of necessary puddle jumping! Yes the water here got pretty high. But with umbrellas and ponchos, we can still proselyte! Yay for modern technology! 
     The work here has been about the same. With a lot of rain the people here don't leave there houses. So sometimes its a bit difficult to find people to let us in when its raining. We have alos started going to another little town called Butron. We have a few investigators there but not many. There is not church there either. So hopefully we can get things going over there. And who knows, maybe Elder Jayer and I will be the first ones to start a house of prayer! That would be amazing! 
     Everything here is going great! I love it here in Mexico and I love being able to serve the people here! Well, thats about al I have for this week. Thanks for all the love and support! May we always recognize the Lord's hand in our lives!

Love,

Elder Strate 

                                                              Fruit tree in our yard


Monday, 12 October 2015

Weeding

     Hello Everyone,

     This past week has been good. Yesterday, we had a ton of people show up for church!! Usually in the branch here, only about 50 maybe 60 people come every Sunday. But yesterday, we had about 125 people there for branch conference! Thats awesome! There is definitely a lot of work to do here with the less actives. We are also starting to find some new investigators, so we will keep trying to find more. 
     Also, this morning my companion and I pulled/destroyed the weeds in our yard today. When the people here pluck/destroy weeds, they use a machete. Thats right, kind of like Clayton from Tarzan who cuts through the thick African jungle with his machete. I kinda felt like that today haha. Mom knows that I enjoyed that! My companion is great too. We get along great and we teach pretty well together too. 
 
     Just so you all know, I really enjoy playing the piano now! I play every week in sacrament meeting. And yesterday I played for the choir that sang too. It was so special and everyone was so happy to hear the piano. 
     I am so blessed by my heavenly father. So many opportunities to develop my gifts and talents that the Lord has given me. I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in the best mission in the WORLD. Thanks for all your love and support. Have an amazing week in the work of salvation!! 
       Thats good that your feeling better dad. Just so you know, that is also one of the many things that I have learned here in the mission. That the worldly things don't really matter that much. And that the gospel is everything! Love you so much, keep doing what you need to in order to get better!
      lots of love,

      Elder Strate  

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Piano

     Dear Strate family, 
     Thanks for raising such a fine young man. He told me you made him practice the piano and he is so glad you did. We are too. He will be a great help to our little Ucum branch. They need music and he will be loved! Thanks again. We know he will do a great job out there. 
    Love the Albaughs


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Conference

     Hello Everyone,
     How are you right now Dad? Pres. Kirkham told me that you are okay now. I was so relieved!! and do you know if grandpa has got my letter yet?
     This week has been wonderful!! Of course, the best part was General Conference!! Man I love General Conference. I hope all of you had the opportunity to listen and watch it. How amazing it was to see three new apostles being called. Another three special witnesses of Jesus Christ. I know these men are called by God!!
      So I like this new area that I'm in. Its like three little towns all combined into one. Ucum, Madrazo, and Pedregal. Everyone here says ther are about 2,500 people here. The chapel here is actually big too. I think its a little bigger than the church in Tulum (my last area). There isn't much work here, but we are starting to find more people to teach. Yesterday we found a new investigator. His name is Vladimir, and he was a referral from the Branch Prez. He is so awesome, we taught him the Restoration yesterday because he wanted to know what we preached. We felt the spirit so strongly and he did too!! Then he told us that he believes that its all true! So we put a goal for a baptismal date, October 31st. Hopefully we can help him to progress. He is young too and I can definitely see a future missionary in him!! 
      Oh and I also got to meet sister Clarke! Remember that supposedly we are cousins haha. She is in my district here. And she is so TALL! Shes taller and bigger than me.
      Also, I am almost done reading the BOM. I just started the book of Ether. I'm so excited because it will be the first time I will have read it in Spanish! Hooray for spanish!
      Thanks for all your love and support. I hope you all enjoyed General Conference and that we may continue to apply all that we learn to our lives!! Keep the Commandments!! 
     Here is our district watching General Conference.
                 

Lots of love,
Elder Strate

Monday, 28 September 2015

Transferred

Hello Everyone,

     Guess what!? Yep, I got transferred. I am no longer in Tulum... 😢 but thats okay. I really liked Tulum, but now the Lord needs me in another place. So I said goodbye to the members there. It was a bit hard because I had developed some good friendships with the people there. But, now onward and upward!! 
  Here are some pics with the great families I got to meet and work with.





 
         So I am now in the Zone Chetumal. Which is a city at the very bottom of Quintana Roo, almost on the border of Belize. And actually I am in a small town called Ucum. I am super excited!! I believe I will be the pianist in sacrament meeting too. Also my new companion is Elder Jayer. He is from Mexico City. I am going to finish his training. Also, our house here is huge! And we have banana trees, coconut trees, mandarine trees, and others too. 
         
         This Saturday and Sunday is General Conference!! YAY!! So excited! What a privelege we have to listen to the general authorities. How amazing is it that there we have a living prophet and 12 apostles to lead and guide us? Super amazing! What a blessing it is to be able to listen to them every 6 months. I hope we can all prepare physically(so we don't fall asleep during, yes Derek I'm talking to you!) and spiritually so we can enjoy a wonderful session of General Conference. May we always have the spirit to be with us wherever we go. I can't wait to hear some of your thoughts and impressions about the revelations that we will recieve. 
         Stay strong and keep the faith! I love each and every one of you(yes even Derek!) and I hope you all have an amazing and safe week. "We thank thee oh God for a prophet, to guide us in these latter days!" -Hynms #19 

con mucho amor,

Elder Strate